Religion remains podcasting’s most active genre, according to an annual analysis of what shows are being published. Dan Misener, head of audience development at Pacific Content, says that has not changed from a year ago. The analysis is based on a sample of 1,651,004 shows and more than 38 million podcast episodes on Apple Podcasts.
The number crunching shows Religion & Spirituality had more than 8.2 million episodes as of March 2021. That is a 36% increase compared to just over 6 million episodes logged by Misener a year ago. The genre also had the most productive show producers, with Judaism the most prolific, on average, with each producing more than 72 podcasts.
While Religion remains on top, the News category moved up to the fifth most-crowded genre this year compared to No. 7 a year ago. Misener’s analysis found more than 2.3 million News genre podcasts, a 54% increase versus March 2020. With many News podcasts releasing new episodes daily, the increase is not unexpected. His data shows News podcasts released an average of 52 episodes.
Education was also one of the past year’s big growth categories, no doubt because many students are now learning at home due to the pandemic. Education has risen to the fourth most-crowded category, up from ninth last year as the number of episodes in the genre soared 92% year-to-year.
On the flip side, there seems to be plenty of room to get listener attention in several Sports subcategories, including volleyball, swimming, and rugby. Also near the bottom of the list are the Mathematics and Craft genres.
Misener writes in a blog post that in order for a show to stand out from the crowd, podcast producers should select a specific subcategory as a show’s primary category. For instance, selecting Society & Culture: Personal Journals instead of Society & Culture. He also says producers need to consider how crowded a category is when making their selection.